Your New Season Shopping List

The pieces worth buying early (AW16 is hitting stores people!)​ in a handy trend report

If aw16 was one thing, it was a season of multiplicity and contrasting ideas, the feeling that a woman can (and should) be many things, all at once. This is feminist fashion. Why limit yourself or the idea of womanhood to one label, box, trend or trope? This is about sartorial freedom and fluidity, picking and choosing the pieces that work best for the individual, and wearing them in our own unique way. Here, our guide to the most energising pieces and talking points of the season.

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1) Puff along

Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney
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The duvet coat you once reserved for the coldest, most dressed down days of the year has become a bona fide luxury piece. The classic staples of street wear (think oversized and slouchy shapes, sport and military references and puffer coats and hoodies) got refined and elevated at collections such as Vetements, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Céline, Hood By Air, Off-White and Louis Vuitton for autumn/winter 16. And that's just to name a few. 

The explosion of quilting and down on the runway effectively turned the once overlooked piece into the season's biggest talking point and has trickled down to the high street in equally XL fashion. Wear it to work or to the big company black-tie 'do. But no matter what, go big or go home.

2) Embellished to the gods

Gucci
Christopher Kane

While one fashion faction was going casual, the tribe of skewed ladies who surfaced for spring/summer '16 went bigger, bolder, brighter and wilder for autumn at a multitude of shows including Christopher Kane, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Gucci. Imagine the eccentricity of Grey Gardens' Big and Little Edie mixed with the piled on flamboyance of Marchesa Casati, and you have the new maximalism, where the key word is more, more, more. 

The linchpin for the look: one spectacular, retina-burning piece, preferably dipped in shiny stones, sequins AND embroidery. A crystal-encrusted Margiela bomber anyone? Wear it like an exclamation mark to your day. We dare you not to feel good in it.

3) Plush velvet

Alberta Ferretti
Alberta Ferretti
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On paper, brown velvet doesn't have a nice ring to it. And yet the loungey, pajama-like version that walked down the Alberta Ferretti runway in a creamy caramel was one of the most memorable, desirable and lush takes on autumn's new fabric of choice. 

Velvet emerged as one of the surprise trends of the season, from a sharply tailored number in tobacco at Vetements to a flowy, sweeping beauty in mustard at Valentino. Again, these are ideas that in theory sound questionable at best. But on the body? Soooo good. Replace your little black party dress with this for evening and you'll be the coolest woman in the room.

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4) Queens of the wild

Christian Dior
Dries Van Noten

An embroidered black panther at Gucci, kitten prints at Dolce & Gabbana, oversized cat pendants at Loewe, and Choupette's graphic imprint at Chanel: cats are inarguably a thing. 

If you don't like to wear your animal in illustrated form, do like the woman at Dries van Noten, Stella McCartney and Rochas and look to the most classic feline reference of all, leopard.

5) Denim all day

Miu Miu
Stella McCartney
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Piled on sequins, velvet and LOLcats aren't for you? Maybe you're a fashion pragmatist, investing in practical pieces that will take you from day-to-day and night-to-night, year-after-year.

If so, you'll have plenty of choice as a range of designers including Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and Dries van Noten offered reimagined versions of wearable, wardrobe staples, such as the denim jacket. Whether deconstructed and technical at Off-White or draped and gathered at Miu Miu, it was the piece that bridged the cavernous gap between realism and fantasy.

6) In the pink

Simone Rocha
Preen
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A punk wrapped in candy floss? Pink has been percolating in the trend cycle for several years now, but for aw16 the newness was in its subversion. Fashion has always gravitated towards opposing ideas and no theme made this clearer than one of the central storylines running through aw16 — that of darkness and lightness or tough and pretty.

It's about the tension between the black, moody, brooding, punk, and gothic (Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Preen, Comme des Garçons, and more) and pink, soft, frilly, romantic and hyper-girly (Erdem, Miu Miu, Isabel Marant, Fendi, Comme des Garçons, and more), ideally in a single look. Channel the Simone Rocha woman and wear pink with the attitude of a hell-raising goth. The more contrarian the spirit, the better.

7) The stomper boot

Prada
Louis Vuitton

What do the punk, new maximalist and pragmatist have in common? A hard-working, functional boot. Miuccia Prada's deliciously crazy ladies, Alexander Wang's grunge punks and Vetements' realists all had them — and chances are high you'll want a pair too. 

Wear them as a masculine counterpoint to a shimmery, hyper-decorated look or as the functional finishing touch to your practical wardrobing. Either way, you're winning.

8) The military coat

Dolce & Gabbana
Burberry

There's something about a woman in uniform. Army and naval references are perenially stylish. Push the look forward into AW16 with a madcap, maximal approach as seen at Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Maison Margiela, using it as a statement top layer to jazz up your day-to-day look.